I really want a Redrix's Claymore. For those who didn't watch yesterday's reveal stream for Destiny 2's Warmind DLC, Redrix's Claymore is a new legendary pulse rifle, and it's remarkable for a couple of reasons. First, there's the signature perk, called 'Desperado', which isn't on any other gun currently. Desperado means that if you reload after getting a precision kill, the Claymore's rate of fire is temporarily increased. However, unlike other guns which are able to switch their rate of fire, the impact rating won't be lowered to compensate for the faster speed. So, when the effect procs, you're firing a high impact pulse rifle at the same speed as a medium impact one. In other words, the DPS is sick.
The second remarkable thing about the Claymore, and the element which is already causing heated debate in the Destiny 2 community, is the way you earn the gun. In order to get your hands on a Claymore, you'll need to reach the 'Fabled' rank in the Competitive playlist during Season 3, which is set to launch on May 8 alongside the Warmind expansion. Ranked play is new to Destiny 2, and placing the ultra-desirable Claymore behind an achievement gate is an obvious carrot intended to lure people into a playlist which has long been a ghost town, particularly on PC. After trying to queue into a Competitive game for 20 minutes, a colleague of mine asked me if the playlist was broken. Nope, it's just like that.
I'm torn. I really want a Claymore, but I might not be good enough to earn one. Generally speaking I'm strongly in favour of Destiny 2 adding unique loot that rewards the players who are still grinding the game despite its myriad problems. The question is really how hard it's going to be to reach Fabled, and how gruelling that experience will be for solo players. Unlike the Casual mode, where your rank will just increase over time the more you play, in Competitive you can hit win or loss streaks, with your rank climbing or tanking accordingly.
It's worth noting that Fabled isn't the highest rank possible. It's actually the fourth highest of six ranks which span from Guardian to Legend. According to Gigz, one of the Destiny 2 content creators who attended a summit held by Bungie at its Bellevue, Washington studio last week, the developer anticipates that around 40 percent of the current player base will be good enough to make it to Fabled and get the gun. However, Gigz also expressed the idea that it was basically time for Destiny 2 players to git gud if they expect to be able to enjoy the best loot in future, a sentiment which hasn't been universally well-received.
If you’re not good enough or don’t put the time in you won’t get the weapon. No more hand outs. Get used to that common theme for Destiny going forward and put the time in https://t.co/Dlg44d3jj6April 24, 2018
Over on Reddit, there's been a wide range of reactions. Some are worried that it'll be particularly hard for those who prefer to play solo to earn the necessary wins. Others are delighted that this seems to be the first step towards undoing the process of so-called "casualification" that Bungie embarked on when making this sequel. Of course, some are angry because they feel like the game is pandering to the one percent who have the necessary free time and skill to grind out a Claymore. Or, as one Redditor put it less politely: "He can fuck right off. Those of us in the real world are putting our time in at work or with our families."
Gigz responded with a separate thread to address some of the confusion around his previous comment. "I 100% believe that there need to be certain things in Destiny 2 that aren't achievable for most players," he wrote. "From my point of view, if you aren't skilled enough to complete a raid, Crucible, Trials, Nightfall etc, then that should light a fire under you to improve. You can disagree, and I'm cool with that, but you can't ignore the fact that Destiny 2 lost the incentive that Destiny 1 had."
If the tone of streamers like Gigz and True Vanguard (who defends the system above) still sounds slightly triumphal, that's understandable. Guys and girls like them make their living from spending endless hours playing Destiny 2 and making videos about it. The scarcity of interesting loot to chase in Destiny 2 has seen many of them flee to other games, particularly Fortnite, and stuff like the Claymore represents a reason to come back. And generally speaking I'm also willing to grind for an almost indeterminate amount of time provided the reward looks worthwhile, which the Claymore does. In Destiny 1, I even hammered out the Chaperone quest in PvP, just to get that sweet spinny shotgun. Nonetheless, something bothers me about how the Claymore is earned.
I think part of problem is that the game is so lacking in seriously powerful loot that sticking one of the coolest weapons behind the least-loved playlist feels almost perverse. Of course owning a Claymore will be a point of pride for tryhard Crucible gods, but on PC that's an almost literal handful of players. I regularly bump into the same people when I'm not stuck in orbit waiting for a game, and I'm not sure this incentive is the right one to get the masses back into that playlist. More likely, I'm going to try solo queuing a couple of games, face a four-stack of veteran killers, and back out with the whole idea written off as a bad mistake.
I don't want to just whine though, so here's my proposed solution: have those who rank up to Fabled and Legend earn the weapon at a substantially quicker rate. But give those who are willing to just put the hours (a lot of hours) into Competitive without necessarily climbing the ranks a path to getting the gun, too. The metric used could be the number of successfully completed matches you've played in Competitive over Season 3, which would also help keep the playlist stocked with opponents.
Ultimately, the end goal should be to encourage players to try Competitive and ideally learn to love it. If the mode itself remains unenjoyable, then no amount of bribes will keep the population healthy. The other risk with the Claymore is that its existence only exacerbates the sense that PvP isn't for everyone. If you're playing Iron Banner, and line up against a team rocking four Claymores, then I doubt the emotional reaction is going to be an aspirational one of "maybe I should have tried harder". It's going to be "man it kinda sucks that the very best players also have a gun that is strictly better than mine now".
We'll have to wait and see how all that plays out though. Much is still unknown and subject to change. I'm also partly persuaded by the argument made by Datto, another Destiny 2 YouTuber, who compared the situation with the Claymore to the fact he doesn't have a complete set of Mythic raid gear in WoW, because he doesn't have time to run Mythic raids these days, and that's OK. But I suppose the big difference is that Destiny 2 doesn't have the sheer depth of stuff to collect that WoW does, which places even more scrutiny on how the coolest gear is acquired. If nothing else, I'm glad that Bungie is experimenting with bespoke perks that are actually powerful and new ways to earn gear.
Even if I never get to pull the trigger myself.